Summer is finally here. At minimum, hopefully everyone will get to enjoy the long weekends, and some folks may take anywhere from a week off to the whole summer off. Of course – once you have that time off – the question is – how are you going to fill it? In order to help you, I’ve come up with a list of things that shouldn’t cost you much of anything in order to do.
- Staycation. Yup. Hang out at home. Read books you own, or make a trip to the library. Maybe do some of the chores you keep putting off – or that you were planning on paying someone else to do. Clear up your PVR. Break out that box set of DVDs you got for Christmas. Clean out your garage. If you can find enough stuff, you can have a garage sale, and actually make some money. Just don’t use it to buy more stuff.
- Go outside. Make a big bucket of soapy water up and blow bubbles. Break out the sidewalk chalk. Hopefully you live somewhere with green space you can explore for free – parks, bike paths, etc. Some parks now include “Splash Pads”, so you can cool down if you get too warm. They’re not just for kids – I walked into one just this past weekend! Pack a picnic and make a day of it. Just watch out for Yogi Bear.
- Free events. While there are certainly more offerings in bigger cities (everything from Pride parades to film and music festivals), smaller towns offer a lot as well. Your library or community centre can be a great source for finding out about these. Like sports? Watch local, amateur teams for free. And almost everywhere offers Canada Day celebrations and fun. Get out there, show your patriotism, and get some free cake!
- Explore your city or take a cheap day trip. If you own a monthly metro pass, you can use it to check out a neighborhood you wouldn’t normally visit. Otherwise, try to find things that are only a short drive away – such as an historical site, a working farm (mmm..freshly picked strawberries), or a great place to hike.
- Buy a pass. If there is something you or your family love to do, it may be worth buying a monthly pass for admission. For example – if your kids love swim, but you don’t have access to a free swimming pool, it may be worth buying a season pass. The same goes for amusement parks, museums, etc. Before you go ahead and purchase a pass, do some serious thinking about whether you’ve done this in the past, and whether you’ve really used the pass or it’s just gone to waste.
Remember – you don’t have to spend a lot of money to have fun. While sometimes it’s nice to spring for big ticket items, some of the best memories I’ve made with my nieces have been just playing cards or going to the park.
What’s your favourite free or cheap summer activity?